Last year, during the first months of the pandemic, I spent a lot of time watching CNN. This will likely surprise many of my liberal readers, who think that I have Fox News playing continuously in my house, and that I take my orders from the voices that come out of the television set. To be honest, I rarely watch Fox, because it’s boring to hear only opinions that mirror my own. Plus, I can only take just so many blonde women with really bright teeth sitting next to each other.
While I often yell at the TV when certain CNN hosts come on with their obvious, smarmy bias, I did enjoy the brotherly banter between Chris and Andrew Cuomo in March and April of 2020. It humanized people who, let’s be honest, were about as warm and cuddly as the Corleones (hold the Fredo jokes, please, I already wrote a column about it).
How times have changed. Last spring, Andrew Cuomo came off as an effective public servant who left politics at the hospital door. Even though he managed to get in his digs at President Trump, it was understandable because the president did the same thing to him.
I remember one particular exchange in which the Cuomo Brothers’ Catskill Routine engaged in banter along the lines of “mom loved me more!” It reminded me of how my own three brothers would compete to give my mother the best birthday present they could buy at the Kirklyn Pharmacy for under two dollars.
And then, suddenly, it wasn’t cute anymore. It stopped being cute the day I found out Andrew Cuomo’s administration had lied about the number of people who died in New York nursing homes. It stopped being marginally endearing when I learned that Cuomo had deliberately sent sick people into those nursing homes, despite warnings from health care experts that this could cause the virus to metastasize in that vulnerable population. It stopped reminding me of my own brothers, who never killed anyone, when I realized Cuomo and his crew had hidden the stratospheric number of deaths (15,000 at last count) to, according to top aide Melissa DeRosa, prevent Donald Trump from using the information against Cuomo in the run up to the national elections.
It stopped being cute the day I found out Andrew Cuomo’s administration had lied about the number of people who died in New York nursing homes.
Yes, we all know Trump would have done the same thing, but who cares? Cuomo wasn’t shy about touting his Herculean efforts in keeping New Yorkers safe, and the media (except, of course, Fox News) treated him like a hero. At the same time, they were demonizing governors like Ron DeSantis in Florida and Kristi Noem in North Dakota, likely because they were GOP politicians, and it wasn’t a good idea to give them glowing praise. From what I can tell, many Floridians seem happy with DeSantis, and Noem is a rising star in the conservative firmament, so they didn’t suffer from the media sniping. And, as far as I know, neither of them are being investigated by the federal government.
Which brings us back to Cuomo. When news got out that he had lied about the number of Covid fatalities for obvious political reasons, the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn as well as the FBI initiated a preliminary investigation into Cuomo’s handling of the coverup. I don’t use the term “alleged coverup,” because Cuomo’s own chief aide has confirmed that they hid the information so Trump couldn’t use it against them.
I’m grateful that the U.S. Justice Department is taking this seriously. The pity is that our own former Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, also a Democrat, didn’t get the same scrutiny by the feds when she took her mother out of a nursing home to protect her from possible Covid infection at around the same time that she was forcing other Pennsylvania senior citizens to run the same risk.
Back in New York, Cuomo’s move to put sick people into nursing homes resulted in the deaths of Janice Dean’s in-laws. Dean is the Fox New Channel’s weather reporter and now the governor’s fierce and vocal enemy.
It’s obvious Levine and Cuomo really love their mothers, but that doesn’t seem to translate into care for other people’s parents.
And still, Democrats continue to point fingers at the GOP for killing people. The idea persists, as someone tweeted at me, that Democrats take care of people, and Republicans take care of themselves. The lack of self-awareness would be as laughable as that old commercial of Paul Ryan pushing an old lady in a wheelchair over the cliff if it weren’t so tragic.
In the case of Andrew Cuomo and, to a lesser extent, Rachel Levine, the whitewash of their misdeeds is almost as bad as the crimes themselves.
There are a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who lack compassion, competence, and morality, but we usually hear about it only when it happens on the right.
In the case of Andrew Cuomo and, to a lesser extent, Rachel Levine, the whitewash of their misdeeds is almost as bad as the crimes themselves. It adds to a pre-existing mistrust of the mainstream media and permits radicals to take advantage of the narrative. It allows conspiracies to thrive in dark places, resulting in the type of mayhem that occurred on January 6 in the nation’s capital.
The way that Andrew Cuomo was pampered by the press is indefensible. And I won’t even get into the #MeToo allegations, because, frankly, I don’t “believe all women” until actual proof comes to light.
It’s enough that he contributed to the deaths of 15,000 elderly New Yorkers and then lied about it.
The Justice Department is finally doing what the media failed to do when Cuomo’s deadly policies were in full progress.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61